No Kids in the Middle UK

Parental separation and divorce are stressful experiences for the whole family. Often children are unintentionally caught up in conflicts between their parents, especially when these extend over a long period of time or result in contact with a parent being stopped. No Kids in the Middle is a multi-family intervention for families who want to reduce the impact of such disputes on children. The structure of the intervention comprises of two separate concurrent groups; one for the parents and one for their children. Two facilitators work with the parents and two facilitators work with the children. Each group will involve 6-8 families working together over eight group sessions.  

Download a copy of our No Kids in the Middle leaflet for more information 

What does it aim to achieve?

The group aims to lessen the negative impact that parental separation and ongoing parental disputes can have on children by:

  • Helping parents find effective and non-conflictual ways of communicating with each other around parenting, their children’s needs and contact arrangements.
  • Helping families understand the changes they have undergone and move to a position where they can focus on the future.
  • Helping children communicate their wishes and feelings to their parents without worries about the impact this will have on relationships.

In 2019, We were awarded a grant from the Department for Work and Pensions' Reducing Parental Conflict Challenge Fund to support of work with high conflict families. In partnership with Ealing and Hackney Local Authorities and CAMHS team, our Family Ties project team were able to deliver and evaluate five semi-structured multi-family groups with an overall 19 families participating. The programme produced some positive indicators for this cohort of families, including improved outcomes for children's wellbeing and reduced level of conflict between parents. Although the intervention was cut short due to the Covid-19 lockdown, almost all parents felt it had improved their co-parenting relationship to an extent, though some conflict invariably remained. A summary of our findings are as follows:

  • Parents reported significantly lower levels of inter-parental conflict
  • Children reported significantly better wellbeing in their family lives
  • Children reported significantly less avoidance of trauma around family conflict
  • Parents reported fewer Internalising symptoms in their children
  • The effect sizes of these changes were large.

Read the Summary of the pilot project here

The group is for families who meet the following criteria:

  • They have been identified by a professional as needing support to reduce parental conflict (child adversely affected by conflict)
  • There is at least one child aged 5-11 years old
  • Parents are separated or divorced

Families cannot attend a group if:

  • The parents have only recently separated (>6 months ago)
  • The child is not allowed unsupervised contact with either parent
  • There is an ongoing investigation about abuse perpetrated by either parent towards a child in the family
  • Either parent has a restraining order
  • There is current domestic abuse
  • There are concerns around current parental substance misuse

To make a referral to the programme, please click here to download a copy of our enquiry form. Please send your completed versions to heather.mayall@annafreud.org